Rental Review: 2020 Tacoma TRD 4WD

Messages
1,773
Pick one up last month for a week long camping trip. Overall I liked it, I’m not a Toyota person but it has unquestionably good build quality. Just driving and being around it for a week is enough to realize that it’s built to last. It’s feels old school built but in a newer package if that makes sense. Anyway here goes..

Pros:
Versatility
Ground clearance
Visibility
Power drivers seat (new for 2020)
Cargo bed 110V plug
Fiber reinforced bed (eliminates dent and scratch worry)
Ride quality
Wireless phone charging
Build quality, there are no rattles or questionable noises
Good speakers


Cons:
The seating position is low to the floorboard
Struggles maintaining highway speeds
Auto high beam gets confused with road sign reflections which annoys oncoming drivers
Brake pedal has a weird spring like feel. (Traction control kicked on once while stopped in reverse with my foot on the brake when it made a spring like feel).
Rear axle howling noise at speeds of 46mph-55mph or so. Worse when de-accelerating.
Infotainment system delay
Wavy front window glass, it was driving me insane.

Thats about it. I’ve never driven a Tacoma
before so I’m glad I received this one. I’ve rented plenty of Chevy Colorado’s and I much prefer them. The Colorado has a much more refined driving experience and it’s peppy with the 8speed auto. The Colorado has a smoother ride until you big potholes, then it rides like a bucking horse. The Tacoma has a more jarring ride but it surprising handles rough patches really well. Part of that could be the 16in wheels the Tacoma rides on. Both are good trucks!
 
Messages
1,403
Location
NY
I personally hate the Tacoma's seating position. I might as well be driving a car. But the seating position does seem to get the floor pan up higher.
 
Messages
2,759
Location
pa
Tacos are way SMALL with a big $$$$!! i like midsized + a rare standard cab BUT STILL for the $$$ a Nissan Frontier is the best value + its torquey V-6 with my 6 spd manual allows ME to choose my gears!! yes mine is a preowned lo mile 2011 i bought a few years ago as manuals are unfortunately gone unless their basic wear 4 banger still has one. they are not pushed like others + not sure about the newest offerings, i love mine!! new was not an option due to the cost!!!
 
Messages
4,485
Location
Massachusetts
My bassist has one. It's not a TRD, just a run of the mill 4WD. It's a '16 with only 40K miles. It seems to drive ok, but the interior is cramped for me and the V6 sounds like a box of rocks at idle.

I need a full size for towing, logging, etc. but if I had to buy a mid for fun, I would get a Nissan with the off road package.
 
Messages
54
Location
Phoenix
I'll pass on what my uncle thought when he owned a 2017 Tacoma Double Cab SR5 4wd. He bought the truck to downsize but ultimately traded in the truck due to leaving him stuck several times at less than 30k miles

-Stalled 3 times requiring a tow truck, the last 2 times were after the recalled fuel pump replacement. He lives in a rural area
-Rear diff whine less than a year into ownership --> replaced rear axle, noise gone but for how long?
-Brake juddering --> dealership replaced rotors and pads, still doing it
-Serpentine belt squeal around 25k miles --> dealer replaced tensioner and belt
-Lack of power
-Cruise control speed vs actual always fluctuating (70mph on the dash could be 67-72mph, revs were never constant)
-Poor seating position
-Poor mpg (avg 17mpg, almost all highway driving)
-Loud interior
-Poor handling, can feel every bump in the road, overly firm

Coupled with the nearest dealer being 60 miles and poor dealership experience, he traded it in on a new Ram 1500 Classic for the same price he bought the Tacoma (~$34k). Ride comfort is exponentially better and the mpg is the same except the Ram has a V8 so more power. The nearest dealer is less than 20 miles away. He's happy as long as it does not leave him stranded. He has had a previous Ram 3500 (2006?) with over 400k miles (Cummins w/ manual tran) that he uses to tow the horse trailer and toy hauler.
 

CKN

Messages
6,356
Location
Utah
The ride quality has pretty much been stated as garbage by all PROFESSIONAL reviewers......A Tacoma owner on here did a cross country trip in one. He lived somewhere in the East and drove to Las Vegas (I believe). Basically-it was determined it's an absolute terrible extended highway cruiser.

Sometimes I think BITOG members should leave vehicle reviews to those who do it for a living.
 
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stower17

Thread starter
Messages
1,773
Do you mean it can't maintain highway speeds, or you have to lean on the accelerator with a resultant downshift to maintain those speeds?

Just curious as there is a difference.

Any type of incline the truck starts losing speed and results in a downshift. I’m not sure if the TRD 4WD is geared differently than other Tacoma models but this is definitely something I wouldn’t want to drive regularly on the highway.
 

stower17

Thread starter
Messages
1,773
The ride quality has pretty much been stated as garbage by all PROFESSIONAL reviewers......A Tacoma owner on here did a cross country trip in one. He lived somewhere in the East and drove to Las Vegas (I believe). Basically-it was determined it's an absolute terrible extended highway cruiser.

Sometimes I think BITOG members should leave vehicle reviews to those who do it for a living.

No I’m not a professional reviewer but I will say that the pros are often biased, so it’s good to listen to the pros and also from actual owner experience imo.

Let me clarify the ride quality. It’s not the smoothest ride. The Colorado has a much smoother, car like ride. The Tacoma is less refined and feels much stiffer, however, it did a much better job at handling rough pavement. The Colorado in my experience with several rental units is that they ride far superior until you hit a rough patch.
 
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Messages
17,758
Location
NH
My guess, Toyota screwed up their cruise control--it's botched on my truck and will hunt. Comes from trying to run a too-tall gear in general, and being slow to downshift. In some ways though it should be expected: if it was geared to climb hills w/o downshifting, then it's turning faster than it needs to on the flats.
 
Messages
3,031
Location
Florida
It cracks me up when some come in here and act like the Tacoma is less than desirable truck. I have two of them and absolutely love both vehicles. They also have a long break in cycle. Most people trade in and out of vehicles so they really don't understand. I keep mine long term and if I needed another one I would buy it again.
 
Messages
2,011
Location
South Central PA (Fulton Co)
Any type of incline the truck starts losing speed and results in a downshift. I’m not sure if the TRD 4WD is geared differently than other Tacoma models but this is definitely something I wouldn’t want to drive regularly on the highway.

This happens in my 2nd gen with the 5 speed automatic. One of the few things I don't like about the truck, the transmission programming drives me bonkers. Goes into OD at 35 and most times will shift harshly into OD as well. Our Camry's shifting strategy is annoying as well. You would think Toyota would get it together by now... But yet here I am still buying Toyota's :LOL: I'll likely replace my second gen with a third gen when the frame finally rots out. Not an issue of if, it's when unfortunately. Probably wondering why I'd buy another Tacoma. Honestly I don't like the domestic offerings and am not impressed with Nissan lately.
 

4WD

Messages
16,676
Location
Texas
I’m renting a Nissan Frontier … it’s got leather, sunroof etc … but a strange mix of nice and cheap interior material
it does have a smooth & peppy powertrain … drives pretty well …
 

stower17

Thread starter
Messages
1,773
It cracks me up when some come in here and act like the Tacoma is less than desirable truck. I have two of them and absolutely love both vehicles. They also have a long break in cycle. Most people trade in and out of vehicles so they really don't understand. I keep mine long term and if I needed another one I would buy it again.

It’s funny you mentioned that. I feel like Toyota designed this truck for one specific target audience, previous Tacoma owners. I mentioned in my original post that it feels old school built. I bet plenty of 3rd gen Tacoma owners have owned 1st, and 2nd gen Tacoma’s (and maybe still own them) and it feels as if the 3rd gen was designed to keep the tradition going. Two things that caught my attention during my week long stint with the truck were, 1) the starter sound. 2) the exhaust sound. The starter sound and exhaust rumble are eerily similar to a 1st gen 3.4.
 
Messages
3,719
Location
Nashville, TN via Memphis
Tacos are way SMALL with a big $$$$!! i like midsized + a rare standard cab BUT STILL for the $$$ a Nissan Frontier is the best value + its torquey V-6 with my 6 spd manual allows ME to choose my gears!! yes mine is a preowned lo mile 2011 i bought a few years ago as manuals are unfortunately gone unless their basic wear 4 banger still has one. they are not pushed like others + not sure about the newest offerings, i love mine!! new was not an option due to the cost!!!

Not sure what you're comparing it to when you say it's small - maybe to a full-size pickup? The Tacoma actually fits in between the small pickup and the full-size categories. My 2007 is probably only 10-20% smaller than a first-gen Tundra.

The advantage is that you get great bed capacity (mine is 6') and good towing capacity (mine has the towing package, which includes 1" hitch receiver, 3.73 gears, and transmission cooler, and allows towing 6500 lbs), with very nimble handling and parking lot maneuverability compared to a full-size.

I am interested to see the next-gen Frontier, as well as a review on that new 3.8L V6 with >300 HP. I think it'll be an instant BITOG classic, especially if they offer it with a manual trans.
 
Messages
3,719
Location
Nashville, TN via Memphis
My bassist has one. It's not a TRD, just a run of the mill 4WD. It's a '16 with only 40K miles. It seems to drive ok, but the interior is cramped for me and the V6 sounds like a box of rocks at idle.

I need a full size for towing, logging, etc. but if I had to buy a mid for fun, I would get a Nissan with the off road package.

Something must be wrong with his truck, then. He should take it to the shop. Because I can't even hear my 2007 with >230K miles at idle. Same exact engine.

Also, not sure what size person you are, but I'm 6'2" and I find it to have plenty of room.
 
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